A MANITOBA CURLING FIRST FOR TEAM ZACHARIAS

Fair to the other team members or not, the inevitable comparisons in curling always seem to be made between the skips – especially when it comes to historical records.

Not only did new Scotties champion skip Mackenzie Zacharias share the ice with Darcy Robertson, she shares a spot in Manitoba curling history as well

The reason is simple – it is easy! A little easier than comparing thirds – a lot easier than comparing thirds with leads.  Easy because the two names are attached to the team and that’s the identity that mostly shows up in articles like this. Also easy because their name always comes first on the historical record list.

The story idea started from the realization that just two curling seasons ago, Mackenzie Zacharias (and her entire team) had won the Manitoba, Canadian, and World Juniors.

Who was the last Manitoba World Junior champion to win the Manitoba women’s or men’s provincial title?

Answer? It has never happened? Kelly MacKenzie (Scott), of course, won a BC women’s and went on to win the world title – but not Manitoba. Bob Ursel, David Hamblin, Braden Calvert: none of them won the Manitoba men’s although it is fair to say that Calvert still could.

So what about Canadian Junior champions – and did anyone do it in the second season after winning the Canadian Junior?

Answer? Go back almost 40 years. Darcy Kirkness skipped the 1984 Manitoba and Canadian Junior champion team (before there was a world championship so they had no chance there!). Her team of Barb Kirkness, Janet Harvey and Barb Fetch won Manitoba and Canada.  In 1986, the Kirkness sisters and Barb Fetch (with Faye Irwin) won the Manitoba women’s title. That’s the same second season after the junior championship as with the Zacharias sisters – and it would be splitting hairs to suggest the December timing this year means the Altona team actually did it a little sooner.

For those who don’t recognize the name – that’s the same Darcy Robertson as was competing this year in Carberry.

So Team Zacharias of 2020 and 2022 shares the accomplishment of winning “soonest after Canadian Junior title” with Team Kirkness of 1984 & 1986 (in Manitoba curling!).

However, Team Zacharias stands alone in Manitoba curling history in one regard. Mackenzie & Emily Zacharias, Karlee Burgess, and Lauren Lenentine are the ONLY intact Manitoba Junior Champion team, ever, to go on and win a Manitoba Women’s or Men’s championship.

SCOTTIES FINAL: TEAM ZACHARIAS IS THE CHAMPION

END 10: Zacharias lead Lauren Lenetine made two perfect tick shots, moving one guard to within 18 inches of the wall and the other to about two inches from the wall. Second Emily Zacharias followed with a hit & roll for a biter behind Lenetine’s two stones which had rolled nearly out of play themselves. From there, Watling threw guards – Zacharias threw peels.

As Zacharias settled in the hack to throw her final shot, she had the security of that biter. SHe didn’t have to stick for the win – but no mistake she hit and stuck for two and the win.

(l-r) Mackenzie Zacharias, Karlee Burgess, Emily Zacharias, Lauren Lenentine – with Coach Sheldon Zacharias are the 2022 Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts Champions

WATLING: Assiniboine Memorial (throwing Red)
002 011 010 2 = 7
ZACHARIAS: Altona (throwing Yellow)
020 100 200 0 =5

END 9: With skips stones to come, Zacharias had one counter, a stone biting the back corner of the 12 foot circle. Watling’s draw to it was a foot short and angled, allowing Zacharias to blast it out. After a time out, Watling elected to play the hit to remove the Zacharias counter. She rolled to bite the back of the rings at the centre line and Zacharias blanked.

END 8: A Watling hit & roll facing four resulted in one and a tie

END 8: A Zacharias centre guard and a Watling draw behind it to the front edge of the button and the game was on. As Watling went to throw her last rock, she faced four Zacharias counters but they were all around the 12 foot circle. A hit and roll from the outside to the four foot gave Watling a single point and a tie.

END 7: Zacharias, with her first stone, squeaked past a corner guard to remove a Watling stone and roll buried. She had two behind the guard, forcing Watling to play a runback. She removed one Zacharias stone but left the skip a draw for two – a draw which had to be full 12 foot and just made with full sweeping.

END 6: With her last rock, Zacharias attempted to tap the red shot stone past her own for a possible two – but jammed.

END 6: The first four stones were ‘by the book’. Watling opened the end with a stone on the centre line biting the eight foot circle. A Zacharias corner. A Watling centre guard bit the rings and Zacharias went behind her own corner guard. As the end unfolded, Watling with her last rock had an outside raise opportunity on her own stone in the front corner of the 12 foot circle. Zacharias had two counters angles behind it. Watling killed one and rolled for shot stone – leaving Zacharias a delicate shot to angle the shot stone past her own and possibly count two. She curled up too much and the jam resulted in a Watling steal of one and the first lead of the game for the Winnipeg team.

END 5: A first stone Watling double kill attempt jammed on her own stone in the back 12 foot circle leaving Zacharias lying second shot stone. She removed the shot stone and Watling was forced to hot for a single. And a tie (3-3) at the mid-game break.

END 4: The Zacharias out-turn draw across the centre line had to curl past the guard and the Watling stone on the centre line in the eight foot

END 4: Watling controlled play and had Zacharias in trouble. Facing three, Zacharias played a tricky draw that had to curl past a mid-high guard, and a rock in the top eight foot, to count one in the four foot circle.

END 3: Zacharias’ first rock in the four foot and as the end played out looked positioned to steal a single. Watling with her first stone cleared three centre guards, rolling one of her own to bite the rings as third shot. Zacharias considered a guard on her own shot rock but cautiously elected to hit the biter and roll for a guard. She did not get the roll and Watling hit for two.

END 2: A perfect draw behind her own guard and a second draw to the four foot for a deuce for Zacharias

END 2: A Watling corner and a Zacharias rock almost biting the 12 foot circle were the only “clutter’ when Zacharias went to the hack to throw her first stone. She threw a perfect draw the top corner of the four foot – fully buried behind her own stone. Watling drew to it but was about an inch short of perfect. Zacharias drew full four foot for a pair.

END 1: In the semi-final, there were exactly 14 rocks in play at the conclusion of the opening end. A different story in the final – a simple, clean end. Mackenzie Zacharias and her young Altona team, who are still the reigning World Junior Champions, had a simple out-turn hit up the centre line to blank.

ZACHARIAS #1; WATLING, JONES TO MEET IN SEMI-FINAL

(Carberry Draw 13: December 18) The final round of play in the Carberry Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer ended in dramatic fashion Saturday afternoon.

The fate of every team depended on the outcome of their own game. Three also depended on the outcome of the game on Sheet A.

Mackenzie Zacharias controlled her own fate. She had to beat Kaitlyn Jones to advance to the Sunday playoff round.

Darcy Robertson had to beat Kristy Watling, to force a tie if Zacharias lost.

Tracy Fleury and Kristy McDonald played each other – the winner would also be in the tie if Zacharias lost.

The result was three entertaining games which went to the final shots.

Robertson, up one coming home without hammer, made a perfect draw to the four-foot circle behind her own rock biting the front of the rings. Watling had no choice but to play the run-double kill. She failed and Robertson had done her job – winning 7-5.

McDonald led Fleury 9-6 coming home and Fleury had hammer. With her final stone, McDonald faced four and played a double kill but nose hit, allowing Fleury a draw for 4 and victory. Fleury had done her job – winning 10-9.

But Zacharias broke their hearts – drawing to the button with her last shot coming home and a 6-5 win over Jones.

Jones, Watling and Zacharias advance to the Sunday playoffs. Zacharias owns the bye to the final as her team beat the other two in their preliminary round meetings.

(Carberry Draw 12: December 18) WATLING, JONES ADVANCE TO SUNDAY PLAYOFFS … The Kaitlyn Jones/Abby Ackland team and Kristy Watling have improved their records to 6W-1L and the two are assured of advancing to tomorrow’s playoff round. Mackenzie Zacharias improved to 5W-2L and, with a win later Saturday, willbe the third team in the playoffs.

If Zacharias loses, the chase for the third spot will be wide open as the other three teams all have 4W-3L records.

Robertson tasted defeat first Saturday moring. It was indicative of Darcy Robertson’s day that on the fourth end, Robertson had a rock full in the back of the four-foot circle and yet Jones had an open draw to the front half of the four foot circle for four. It was the Jones/Ackland foursome’s second four of the game as they opened with a four as well. Robertson fought back to trail 9-6 after six but a “go-for-it” seventh went wrong and a big score ended the game.

Jones 410 400 5x =14
Robertson 002 031 0x =6

Team Watling lead Sarah Pyke delivers

Trailing 3-1 playing the fourth, Watling looked to be setting up a deuce but Kristy McDonald drew to the eight foot partly open but angled onto a Watling rock biting the back of the eight foot. Watling tried to blast it out but left a steal of one and trailed 4-1. On the fifth end, facing three, McDonald’s last stone draw to a Watling stone in the back of the four foot was just heavy and rolled open allowing Watling a hit for four and a 5-4 lead at the mid-game break. The Watling foursome controlled play from there and led 10-6 playing the ninth enroute to a 10-7 victory.

McDonald 201 100 201 x =7
Watling 010 043 020 x =10

In the game between Mackenzie Zacharias and Tracy Fleury, the two teams which had come into the championship round at 3W-2L, Team Zacharias posted their second consecutive win and effectively ended the Team Fleury run. Zacharias established a 6-2 lead after five ends and controlled play from there although she had to make a saving angle raise takeout with her first stone facing three on the eighth end. The end result was a stolen point when Fleury was unable to remove a pair of counters. A deuce on end nine got Fleury within two and she was laying three when Zacharias delievered her final stone of the game. A well placed Fleury final draw meant Zacharias had to hit and roll in to win – she made no mistake.

Zacharias 203 010 110 1 =9
Fleury 010 102 002 0 =6

On the 4PM draw, Zachaias plays Jones, Watling plays Robertson, and McDonald plays Fleury

(Carberry Draw 11: December 17) WATLING, JONES AT 5W-1L, FOUR AT 4W-2L .. Coming into the championship round at the Carberry Scotties with a 3W-2L record, Mackenzie Zacharias and her young Altona knew they faced the daunting task of probably having to win three games in a row to reach the playoffs.

Karlee Burgess & Emily Zacharias sweep a Mackenzie Zacharias draw.

They started the quest decisively, scoring four multiple ends in the first five to post a 10-2 short game victory over previously unbeaten Kristy Watling.

The big shot of the game was an angle raise takeout on the third end by skip Mackenzie Zacharias for a three and a three point lead.

Zacharias 203 32x =10
Watling 020 00x =2

The Watling loss brings her back into a tie with Kaitlyn Jones/Abby Ackland who defeated the Kristy McDonald team. McDonald took a two point lead on the sixth end with a last rock draw to bite the four foot, a draw which took maximum effort by her sweepers but Jones/Ackland scored singles in the next two ends to tie at 4-4 after eight ends. McDonald was forced to one on the ninth and Kaitlyn Jones made no mistake on her tenth end last shot tap on a stone in the back four foot for two and a 6-5 win.

McDonald 100 102 001 0 =5
Jones 001 010 110 2 =6

Like Zacharias, top seeded Tracy Fleury came into this round at 3W-2L and needs a trio of victories. She got the first Friday evening with a win over Darcy Robertson. Leading all the way, Fleury was up 6-4 coming home and had a last rock open hit for a 7-4 win. Fleury and Robertson are now tied with Zacharias at 4W-2L.

Darcy Robertson 010 101 001 0 =4
Tracy Fleury 102 020 010 1 = 7

CARBERRY SCOTTIES ROUND ROBIN FINAL (DRAWS 9 &10 REPORTS)

(Carberry Draw #10: December 17) ZACHARIAS ADVANCES AT 3W-2L; ROBERTSON, MCDONALD BOTH 4W-1L .. Mackenzie Zacharias and her Altona team, still World Junior Champions have qualified for the championship round at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer in Carberry.

Their 3W-2L record comes at the expense of Beth Peterson (Assiniboine Memorial) who on this day, was over-matched. Zacharias, who led 6-2 after five ends, gave up a deuce on six but had a draw to the four foot for three and the win on end seven.

At 3W-2L, the Zacharias team will need to win all three of their championship round games and hope for wins by the right teams at the right times if they hope to advance to Sunday’s final three playoffs.

Zacharias 202 110 3x = 9
Peterson 020 002 0x =4

Alyssa Calvert’s Carberry team gave the hometown crowd something to cheer about as they bested Darcy Robertson (Assiniboine Memorial) 5-4. Up 2 coming home and lying one, Calvert made a perfect draw to bite the front corner of the four foot, just beating out Robertson’s second shot rock. A ‘hail mary’ double kill attempt by Robertson yielded only one and what could be a key loss going forward as Robertson advances with a 4W-1L record.

Calvert 020 010 002 0 =5
Robertson 100 101 000 1 =4

Kristy McDonald’s Granite team were tested by Terry Ursel (Neepawa). Leading 3-2, McDonald had was laying five when Ursel threw her last. McDonald had left an opportunity when her last rock draw overcurled and left a lane to the four foot but Ursel came up shot and the game ended. McDonald goes in the next round with a 4W-1L record.

McDonald 200 001 005 x =8
Ursel 001 010 000 x =2

The first round of the championship, as these three teams take on the three advancing from the other pool, has McDonald playing Kaitlyn Jones, Robertson against Tracy Fleury, and Zacharias against Kristy Watling.

(Carberry Draw #9: December 17) WATLING ADVANCES UNDEFEATED .. No matter who won, both teams already knew they would be advancing to the afternoon championship round but this morning’s Tracey Fleury (East St. Paul) vs Kristy Watling (Assiniboine Memorial) had longer term implications.

The winner of their final round-robin game would carry the head-to-head edge in case they are tied for playoff positions after the championship round.

That could determine playoff positioning but it might also eliminate the loser as there will be a single tiebreaker game if needed Saturday evening. All other ties will be resolved by head-to-head and if necessary, pre-game last stone draw results.

That edge will go to Team Watling who stayed perfect at 5W-0L with a morning victory.

The third end looked pivotal. After scoring two with a near perfect second end, Fleury was lying three when she threw a second centre line guard with her first stone on the third. Watling was able to draw to reduce the number to two and when Fleury removed the only possible hit, Watling had to play another cut-down shot, removing another Fleury stone with an angled raise takeout. But Fleury stole one for a 3-1 lead.

But the two by Team Fleury on the second end was only the first of many in the game. After eight ends, Watling had scored three deuces including a steal and Fleury had scored two more for a 7-7 tie. On the ninth, A Watling draw to the four foot for another deuce came up well short after a ‘pick’ and Fleury had last rock coming home, with hammer, trailing 8-7. With tht last stone, she needed to curl past a guard and tap out a Watling counter but slid past, leaving a steal and a 9-7. Watling victory. Fleury carries forward a 3W-2L record.

Fleury needed to move the buried red stone back for two and a win. Should she have drawn for pone and a tie?

Watling 100 220 201 1 =9
Fleury 021 002 020 0 =7

The Kaitlyn Jones/Abby Ackland (Assiniboine Memorial) team also knew going on the ice that they would be advancing to the next round but again the win was critical for the best possible record going forward. The Jones team, skipped by Ackland, improved their record to 4W-1L with Walter dropping to 1W-4L.

Jones 001 010 021 1 =6
Walter 100 101 100 0 =4

The third game on the ice this morning was a ‘strictly for pride’ game between Shae Bevan (St. Vital) and the Jennifer Clark-Rouire (Miami) team, skipped by Lisa McLeod. Bevan scored two coming home for her second victory while Clark-Rouire remained winless.

Clark-Rouire 020 001 102 0 =6
Bevan 100 110 020 2 =7

On the 1PM draw in Carberry, Mackenzie Zacharias (Altona) and Beth Peterson (Assiniboine Memorial will play with the winner advancing to the championship round along with Darcy Robertson (Assiniboine Memorial) and Kristy McDonald (Granite).

CARBERRY SCOTTIES DAY 2 SUMMARY (DRAW 5, 6, 7, 8 REPORTS)

(Carberry Draw #8: December 16) ROBERTSON, MCDONALD ADVANCE TO NEXT ROUND: ONE SPOT LEFT … Former champion Kristy McDonald had a great day personally Thursday at the Scotties in Carberry. On the noon draw she won the game with a last draw freeze on the button. On the late draw, she won her team the first end hammer by covering the pinhole in the pre-game draw contest for hammer.

McDonald takes aim in a short game win over Zacharias

Winning last shot, however, is not as important as what you do with it. McDonald used it to make a final shot angled run-back on a rock halfway to the house – onto a pair of Mackenzie Zacharias stones in the four foot. The double kill turned trouble into a four-ender from which the young Altona team never recovered.

Zacharias scored a deuce on the second end but gave up five more on the fourth in a 9-3 short game victory. McDonald’s record is now 3W-1L with a game to play.

Zacharias 020 01x =3
McDonald 400 50x =9

The Zacharias foursome faces a must-win game tomorrow if they wish to advance to the championship.

Robertson

Early on the game for first place in the pool, between Beth Peterson and Darcy Robertson (both Assiniboine Memorial), looked to be going Peterson’s way. They scored a single to open the game then stole one when Peterson made a hit and roll behind cover and watched Robertson slide deep with her draw. From there however the game went Robertson’s way, scoring six over the next four ends to lead 6-3 enroute to an 8-6 win. Team Robertson stays undefeated while Peterson drops to 2W-2L, tied with Zacharias.

Peterson 110 100 201 0 =6
Robertson 003 021 010 1 =8

In a game with local bragging rights on the line, Terry Ursel (Neepawa) and Alyssa Calvert (Carberry) met, both hoping to end their winless string at this year’s championship. The game was going in Ursel’s favour until Calvert scored a four on the ninth to tie coming home but the Ursel team recovered to score one and an 8-7 victory.

Calvert 110 010 004 0 =7
Ursel 003 201 010 1 =8

At 4W-0L, Robertson will advance to the championship round as will McDonald at 3W-2L. The third team advancing from this pool will be the final game winner between Zacharias and Peterson.

(Carberry Draw #7: December 16) WATLING, JONES, FLEURY ADVANCE TO NEXT ROUND ..The two unbeaten teams in the group met on Sheet A today in their next to last round-robin draw at the Carberry Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Both from Assiniboine Memorial, Kristy Watling and Kaitlyn Jones (skipped by Abby Ackland), Jones built a 3 point, 2 end lead but Watling authored a comeback win.

Abby Ackland looks on as Hailey Ryan watches Kristy Watling’s ninth end final draw approach. A freeze to the back red stone set up a steal.

The ninth end was pivotal. Tied 4-4 with hammer, Team Jones gave up a steal of one. To set up the steal, Watling drew the four foot facing two and watched Jones slide deep to give up the steal. The tenth saw the same storyline. Facing two, Jones had a last rock draw that needed to almost bite the four foot. She slid deep again as the rock had to be swept to try to curl it past a guard and the weight didn’t come off fast enough once past that guard.

Jones 120 010 000 0 =4
Watling 001 101 011 2 =7

Watling improves to 4W-0L while Jones is 3W-1L. The result of the game could be critical in determination of the first place team advancing from the championship round to the playoffs.

Needing a win to stay even with the loser of the Jones-Watling game, top seeded Tracey Fleury (East St. Paul) delivered, scoring an 8-4 victory over Jennifer Clark-Rouire (Miami). Fleury’s record is now 3W-1L while Clark-Rouire is still winless.

Fleury 030 011 021 x =8
Clark-Rouire 100 200 100 x =4

Gaining experience with each game, Meghan Walter (East St. Paul) and Shae Bevan (St. Vital) met in the third game on the 4PM draw. Up two coming home, and facing two Bevan stones in the four foot, Walter’s last shot runback attempt did not work out and Bevan drew for a third point and the teams’s first win. The Walter record falls to 1W-3L.

Walter 010 200 011 0 =5
Bevan 001 001 100 3 =6

With one game left to play in the round-robin, the Watling, Jones and Fleury teams are assured of advancing to the championship round from this pool.

(Carberry Draw #6: December 16) ROBERTSON AT 3W-0L, THREE AT 2W-1L ..The noon draw at the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer offered three much more competitive games than had been played on the opening draw Thursday.

Results of Draw #6 in Carberry put Darcy Robertson (Assiniboine Memorial) in first place at 3W-2L with three teams right behind at 2W-1L. Kristy McDonald (Granite), Beth Peterson (Assiniboine Memorial), and Mackenzie Zacharias (Altona) all share second place in the pool.

Third Lisa Blixhavn eyes the line on the Kristy McDonald 7th end triple kill

McDonald set up her win with a triple kill to count two on the seventh end, but the game winner was her clutch last shot coming home draw to the button.

The game winning draw – no contact on the yellow Peterson the back of the button

That draw came to rest near frozen to a Beth Peterson (Assiniboine Memorial) stone on the back of the button. Peterson attempted to negotiate a narrow port with a hit but there is question whether the McDonald stone could be removed. We’ll never know. McDonald stole for a 10-8 victory.

McDonald 011 040 201 1 = 10
Peterson 200 301 020 0 =8

The local team skipped by Alyssa Calvert gave Team Zacharias all they could handle. Tied coming home, Zacharias nose hit a centre guard peel attempt, allowing Calvert to draw behind. She reached the full eight foot so Zacharias just had to be a little better with her final stone of the end. The young Altona skip teased the local fans as her draw slid through the four foot circle but came to rest as shot stone in the back eight-foot.

Zacharias 003 020 000 1 =6
Calvert 110 101 010 0 =5

Terry Ursel’s Neepawa team took their third loss as Team Robertson improved to 3W-0L. Ursel controlled the first half of the game, leading 4-1 after four ends. Robertson fought back to lead 5-4 and forced Ursel to take a single for a 5-5 tie after none ends. Lying second shot, Robertson had an open hit for the 7-5 victory.

Robertson 000 102 110 2 =6
Ursel 102 0101 001 0 =5

(Carberry Draw #5, December 16) WATLING, JONES STAY PERFECT Three teams advance from each group to the championship round of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer and three teams are separating themselves from the rest in the group which played this morning in Carberry,

The Kristy Watling and Kaitlyn Jones teams (both Assiniboine Memorial) stayed undefeated while top seed Tracey Fleury (East St. Paul) improved to 2W-1L on the morning draw.

The Jons team, skipped by Abby Ackland, posted a shut-out over Shae Bevan (St. Vital) while Watling controlled play in a 10-5 eight end win over Jennifer Clark-Rouire (Miami).

Kristy Watling controlled play through the morning game with Team JCR, skipped by Lisa McLeod

Watling 020 402 02x =10
Clark-Rouire 101 010 20x =5

Jones 212 13x = 9
Bevan 000 00x =0

The Fleury win was also a short game victory over Megham Walter (East St. Paul)

Fleury 202 204 x =10
Walter 010 010 x = 2

At the conclusion of round-robin play, three teams will advance to the championship round from each pool. Their records carry forward with them as they play the three teams from the other pool. The top three after that will advance to the playoff round; #1 direct to the final #’s 2 & 3 to the semi-final.

MANITOBA’S SCOTTIES TEAMS TEST NEW STONES

The 12 competing teams in the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer were the first Manitoba curlers to throw a brand new set of CurlManitoba curling stones when they practiced today in Carberry. (CLICK HERE for a copy of the Scotties Draw)

A few twigged to the fact that they were different stones, a few figured out they were brand new stones, a few, playing for the first time on Manitoba Scotties ice had no reason to even think about it. For the record, the new rocks should not have been a surprise. The curlers were told they would be playing with new stones in pre-event information but it is fair to guess that sometimes the pre-event information does not always get read completely.

Veteran coach and volunteer Lorne Hamblin was one who wondered about them. The coach of Terry Ursel’s Neepawa team was matter of fact in his assessment of the new stones as an overall first impression. “A fair bit of swing, nice ice, the rocks reacted consistently,” he said. That’s all you can ask!

CurlManitoba Executive Director Craig Baker advised that new stones became a priority after there were issues with the old rocks at the Scotties in Rivers two years ago.

CurlManitoba knew at that time that had to replace the legendary “MCA rocks”. The Viterra championship that year was played with Curling Canada stones borrowed for the occasion.

New Red Trefor granite with insert running surfaces were ordered from Canadian Curling Stone almost immediately, after an appropriate tender process, and would have been available last year for CurlManitoba’s arena events if the season had not been covid-cancelled.

Brand new stones will be in play at the CurlManitoba arena championships this season. The women use them first, starting Wednesday morning in Carberry. Some of the men in Selkirk might just be able to gain a little advantage if their spouse/partner happens to be playing in Carberry.

“The new stones are as perfectly matched as it is possible to make them – and each weighs 44 pounds,” says CurlManitoba’s Chief Ice Technician Greg Ewasko. He is very happy with how they have performed through the first day’s practice sessions. However, like every Ice Technician, Ewasko is always expecting something could go wrong so he is cautious in predicting anything about the new stones until he has seen them through an entire event.

In a nod to the need for caution and the value of good insurance, the ‘old’ CurlManitoba stones are also in Carberry “just in case”.

The former stones reached legendary status in Manitoba from decades of very limited service, mainly in the men’s championship which at one time was the MCA’s only arena event. As their legend grew however, they travelled the country, used in many different Briers, Scotties and other events.

They were re-conditioned several times and, as they retire from service, they have reached the stage where they are very near and perhaps very slightly under the standard minimum weight of 36 pounds.

What happens with those old stones? Baker says it is still under discussion and a plan will be announced, perhaps by the end of this curling season.

One thing he knows, curlers are sentimentalists! Maybe there is a market in the memories arena – perhaps the guy who remembers throwing a specific rock to win the Manitoba championship would like to buy it and give it a good home.

One thing I’ll tell him – I have no interest in the rock that I left short of the rings in the Tankard final in 1981 but maybe Mark Olson would be interested in the one that the Burtnyk team buried behind it.

Scotties Starts Tomorrow in Carberry; Live-Streaming Planned

(December 14, 2021) CurlManitoba has announced plans to expand remote access to championship curling entertainment next week from the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer.

As in the past, nation-wide television coverage will be provided by Sportsnet for the semi-final at 10AM and the final at 4PM on Sunday, December 19.


In addition, plans are in place for livestreaming of at least a dozen games from the Carberry Plains Community Centre. The livestreaming, sponsored by Sunrise Credit Union and Rocky Mountain Equipment, will include a featured game on all but one of the round-robin draws plus all of the championship round draws daily Wednesday, December 15 through Saturday, December 18.

Only the 8PM draw on Wednesday evening will not be in the live-streaming program. If the
scheduled Saturday evening tiebreaker game is required, it will also be livestreamed.

“Make no mistake, we very much want lots of people in the arena,” says CurlManitoba
Executive Director Craig Baker. “Large crowds are an important part of the experience for teams going on from Manitoba championships. We think the experience of playing in front of the large, enthusiastic crowds who come to our arena championships may be worth a win or even two to a new Manitoba team going the national Scotties.”

However, Baker goes on to acknowledge that friends, fans, and family cannot always be in the arena to support their team.

“We know that the distances involved in Manitoba travel are a factor and one of the services
which CurlManitoba can provide our member clubs and their members is to make it possible to follow favourite teams remotely by way of the livestreaming option,” Baker says.

All 12 teams in the competition will be featured in a livestreamed game at least once during the week. Many will be featured twice and a few more often based on the number of times they play on the sheet of ice set up with the required cameras.

The games will be available beginning at 8:30AM, Wednesday, December 15 at the
CurlManitoba You Tube channel or at curlmanitoba.org.

Later this season, curling fans can also look forward to watching livestream games from the
Viterra Men’s Championship in Selkirk and the Telus Juniors in Brandon.

(Updated: December 8, 9PM) Team Fleury Top Seed in Manitoba Scotties .. Tracey Fleury’s season with her East St. Paul team of Selena Njegovan, Liz Fyfe, and Kristin McCuish has made them the #1 seed in this year’s CurlManitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer.

TEAM FLEURY at the Canadian Curling Trials
Curling Canada/ Michael Burns Photo

The honour is determined by a consensus vote of the other competitors in the event
with consideration as well for the team’s CTRS ranking.

“Coming off a great week at the Canadian Curling Trials, and being ranked number one
on both the Canadian (CTRS) and World Curling Federation team rankings, obviously
Team Fleury was going to be seeded number by the other teams,” says CurlManitoba
Executive Director Craig Baker. “With both Team Canada Kerri Einarson and Olympic
Team Jennifer Jones absent from the event, the suspense was always going to be
around who would be the rest of the top five seeds.”

The rest of the Scotties top five seeds are:
#2 SEED: Mackenzie Zacharias (Altona), Karlee Burgess, Emily Zacharias, Lauren Lenentine, Coach Sheldon Zacharias: Currently CTRS #10 & WCF #20
#3 SEED: Beth Peterson (Assiniboine Memorial), Jenna Loder, Katherine Doerksen, Melissa Gordon: Currently CTRS #24 and WCF #28
#4 SEED: #4 Seed: Kristy Watling (Assiniboine Memorial team (Hailey Ryan, Emilie Rafnson, Sarah Pyke, Coach Jim Watling): Currently CTRS #17 and WCF #45
#5 SEED: Darcy Robertson (Assiniboine Memorial), Laura Burtnyk, Gaetanne Gauthier, Krysten Karwacki: Currently CTRS #34 and WCF #42
#6: SEED: Kaitlyn Jones (Assiniboine Memorial), Robyn Kjegovan, Abby Ackland, Sara Oliver, Coach Howard Restall: Currently CTRS #26 and WCF #48

The Manitoba Women’s Championship will be played at the Carberry Plains Community
Centre in Carberry, December 14-19.

“We look forward to hosting Manitoba’s best women curlers,” says Host Committee
Chair Rob Van Kommer. “Carberry was one of the clubs which met in December of
1888 to form the original curling association in this province. Now 133 years later, we
are proud to be added to the list of communities which have hosted CurlManitoba’s
arena championship events.”

Van Kommer adds “our community is excited by this opportunity and our volunteers are
ready and able to create a very memorable event for both the curlers and their fans.”

“On behalf of Kruger Products and our parent company Kruger Inc., I’d like to extend a
warm welcome to kick off the 2022 Provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts in
Carberry, says Rynie Nachtigall, Business Development Manager, Western Canada,
Kruger Products. “We’ve been proudly sponsoring Women’s curling for over 40 years
and thank CurlManitoba, the entire Host Committee/volunteers and all the Curlers who
will make this another successful event.”

The 12-team championship will be played in a round-robin in two pools of six with three
teams from each pool will carry their records forward and play the three teams from the
other pool. After the eight games, three teams will advance to the playoffs with #2
playing #3 and the winner meeting #1 in the final,

Continuing the tradition of broadcast, the semi-final at 10:00am and the final at 4:00pm
will be available nation-wide on Sportsnet.

CurlManitoba has also recently announced that remote access to Scotties games has
also been expanded by the addition of a comprehensive live-streaming plan. One game
from each draw, except the evening draws, will be available at the CurlManitoba You
Tube channel and at curlmanitoba.org.

(November 22) NEEPAWA’S URSEL TEAM WINS WESTMAN SCOTTIES BERTH .. Neepawa’s Terry Ursel team picked up the fourth Scotties berth available on the weekend, joining Kaitlyn Jones, Kritsy McDonald, and Jennifer Clark-Rouire’s team in winning invitations to compete in Carberry in mid-December.

Ursel (with Wanda Rainka, Kaya Hunter, Tracy Igonia, and fifth Chris Hamblin) won two out of three in Rivers against Alyssa Calvert, who is hoping to be a home team in the Carberry event.

Had it been a ‘total-points’ series, they would have needed an extra end as the two teams each scored 21 points in the three games. Calvert won game #2 9-6 while Ursel was a 7-5 and 8-7 winner. The teams were so closely matched that they were tied coming home in Game #3.

Team Calvert still has a chance to qualify as they will play Shae Bevan’s team for the fifth regional berth at a date & location yet to be determined. The 12th invitation for the Carberry championship will be awarded after the Morris bonspiel in early December.

(UPDATED 8PM: Saturday, Nov. 20) TEAM JCR JOINS JONES, MCDONALD IN EARNING SCOTTIES BERTHS … Kaitlyn and Jones are two well known Manitoba curling names – but two different people playing this week in Saskatoon. Kaitlyn Jones is a pretty well known name as well: a former Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia Junior champion AND Canadian & World junior champion.

Team Kaitlyn Jones

Now Kaitlyn Jones is set to make her mark at the Scotties level and she has made the first step by skipping her team (Robyn Njegovan, Abby Ackland, Sara Oliver) to an invitation to compete in Carberry at the Manitoba championship in mid-December.

Trailing 4-1 playing the fourth end, Jones had a draw for a three and a 4-4 tie. The momentum of the game shifted and after a series of singles, Jones had a hit for three on the eighth end. She rolled away but scored a pair to go up 7-6.

The Jones team controlled the final end, got two buried in the four foot and the game ended when Lisa McLeod (skipping the Jennifer Clark-Rouire entry) couldn’t make an in-off attempt to score at least one for tie. The final score was 9-6.

Team Kristy McDonald

A very well known Manitoba curling name, Kristy McDonald, will join the Jones team in Carberry. Returning to competition after some family time away, McDonald (Lisa Blixhavn, Lindsay Titheridge, Raunora Westcott) adds another former Manitoba Scotties champion skip to the Carberry roster.

McDonald led Shae Bevan 3-0 after two ends but gave up a three on the third when she missed a double kill attempt and left Bevan a draw for the three. McDonald led 5-4 after five ends and had a draw for a four on end #6 to go up 9-4. The final score was 10-5.

On the 5PM draw, the third Winnipeg regional entry into the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Carberry went to the Jennifer Clark-Rouire foursome, skipped by Lisa McLeod (with JCR, Kelsey Meger, Laurie Macdonell, Jolene Callum)

Team JCR, led by two but faced four with their final stone on the last end. Mcleod was certain of a tie after her throw but it was even better than that as Shae Bevan and her team scored only a single; a 4-3 victory for McLeod and her team.

In Rivers, Terry Ursel won game one of the best-of-three series 7-5 but Alyssa Calvert rebounded to win 9-6 in the second game. A third, deciding game will be played in Rivers at 10AM Sunday.

At a time yet to be determined, Shae Beavan’s foursome will play the loser in Rivers for the fifth berth available through regionals.

(November 19) FIVE SCOTTIES BERTHS AVAILABLE THIS WEEKEND … It is fair to suggest Tracey Fleury and Jennifer Jones and their teams would prefer a trip to Beijing over a trip to Carberry.

The top two favourites to win this year’s Manitoba’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer will be playing in Saskatoon, beginning this weekend, in an attempt to win their way out of that trip to Carberry in mid-December.

If either wins Canada’s Olympic Curling Trials, formally knows the Canadian Curling Trials, they would be dropped out of the Manitoba championship as they would be unable to represent Manitoba at the National Scotties which ends just a few days ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

Four other teams have also qualified for the Manitoba championship. These include Mackenzie Zacharias, Darcy Robertson, Beth Peterson, and  Kristy Watling.

That leaves five invitations to play in Carberry up for grabs this weekend in regional qualifying – and six teams want them.

In Winnipeg at the Deer Lodge, Jennifer Clark-Rouire, Shae Bevan, Kaitlyn Jones, and Kristy McDonald will play for three provincial berths. Jones play Clark-Rouire and McDonald plays Bevan at 9AM Saturday with the winners getting invitations. Then the two losers will play for the third invitation.

In Westman, Alyssa Calvert hopes to become a home-team in Carberry when she plays a best of three series with Terry Ursel (Neepawa). That happens in Rivers beginning at 10AM Saturday.

That makes four. The losers in Winnipeg and Westman will playoff for the fifth available entry into the Carberry championship.

After this weekend, the last entry into the Carberry Scotties will be announced following the DEKALB Bonspiel in Morris.

Of course, the small number of entries in regional playoffs does not indicate the strength of field of the provincial championships. In fact, the exact opposite – the strength of the Manitoba Scotties field probably explains the lack of regional entries.

There are seven Manitoba teams in the Canadian Team Ranking Systems’ Top 20. Team Canada’s Kerri Einarson, #5, is not eligible as she has pre-qualified for the national Scotties (unless she wins the Trials). Kaitlyn Jones, a former Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia Junior champion and also Canadian and World titleist, is ranked #15 in Canada but has yet to qualify for Carberry.

The other five are pre-qualified: Tracey Fleury (CTRS #1), Jennifer Jones (CTRS #2), Mackenzie Zacharias (CTRS #12), Kristy Watling (CTRS #14), and Beth Peterson (CTRS #15). Also pre-qualified, Darcy Robertson is ranked #35 on the CTRS list.

No question, the 12-team Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Carberry in mid-December will be one of the most competitive women’s curling events ever staged in Manitoba – great championship curling entertainment.

(November 16) GREAT PROGRESS IN PLANNING FOR CARBERRY SCOTTIES …. Carberry is one of the smallest, and perhaps is the smallest, community to ever host one of CurlManitoba’s arena championship curling events.

Curl Carberry is proud to be hosting the 2021 Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer

Rather than being a problem, however, committee chairman Rob Van Kommer says it is an opportunity – an opportunity to showcase the spirit of the community which he is proud to call home and an opportunity to boost community pride.

The Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer will be played in the Carberry Community Centre December 14-19, 2021 with the full support of the Town of Carberry, the Rural Municipality of North Cypress, the Community Centre and the Curling Club.

“Our committee and our community have really taken hold of the challenge of hosting the Scotties. We’re making great progress,” Van Kommer said recently. “The business community has shown great support – our nine corporate boxes are ‘sold out’ and we have at least eight gold sponsors already; we had over 120 volunteers turn out for our shirt try-on night, and nearly half of our full event passes have been sold.”

Showing the eternal optimism of the Manitoba farmer, Van Kommer can even put a positive spin on the past year’s covid-isolation and the change of timing to December, due to the 2022 Olympic schedule.

‘I don’t think there is any doubt it helps us for the event to be earlier than usual,” he said. “People were isolating for so long that this event is going to be a great way for them to get out and see their friends from across the Manitoba curling community.”

The Carberry Community Centre is a multi-sport facility which includes the four sheet curling facility, a bowling alley, a gun club, an outdoor pool, and hockey arena. For the Scotties, the curling rink will be used as a yet-to-be named hospitality facility.

People worried about it being an ’old barn’ need not be concerned. The building benefited from regular upgrades over the years with new roof, new dressing rooms and new heaters all ensuring the comfort of both fans and curlers. There is also good experience in the arena as a curling arena as Carberry Curling club has staged its annual bonspiel in the arena ever since the clubs 100th anniversary (nearly 40 years).

While seating capacity in the arena is limited to 450 bleacher seats, the total capacity will be about 1,200 curlers and curling fans. (LINK to Carberry’s Ticket Sales site) One of the innovative Carberry ideas, compared with other provincial events, will be to provide access to the hospitality area via a $20 “party pass”.

That idea was one of many which grew from the imaginations of the Carberry volunteer corps and Van Kommer is quick to credit his executive committee and the other lead volunteers for their energy and ideas. The Executive group includes Kelly Hofer (President of the Ladies Curling Club), Warren Birch (President of the Men’s Curling Club) Trevor Calvert (Past-President of the Men’s Curling Club).

Carberry was originally scheduled to host a dual Manitoba Juniors and Manitoba Seniors Championship event in early 2021 but it, of course, was cancelled due to the pandemic. When CurlManitoba needed a suitable location for the Scotties, Carberry accepted the challenge.

As one of the original seven curling clubs which formed the Manitoba Branch of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club (now CurlManitoba), Carberry is proud to join the list of communities which has hosted one of Manitoba’s major arena curling events.

However, Van Kommer and his group have not given up on the idea of that dual Juniors-Seniors championship event wrapped around their community bonspiel.

“You have to have something to look forward to,” he concludes with a smile.

INTRODUCING THE “NEW” MANITOBA JONES TEAM

Manitoba’s Jones team is competing in the DEKALB SuperSpiel in Morris this weekend – no, not that Jones – the other Jones, the new Jones, the Jones of the future in Manitoba curling!

A win Saturday over Team JCR in Morris followed losses to Kristy Watling and Talyia Tober. That sets up a Sunday 3PM game against a highly regard young team from the USA skipped by Madison Bear.

When Kaitlyn Jones name popped up on the Abby Ackland team roster at the start of this season, there were some obvious questions.

Was she joining the team on one of those ‘birthright’ eligibilities? “No, I moved here. But I could have,” she says, explaining that she was born in Thompson and lived in Wabowden until she was about two years old.

Did she move here to join the team or did she join the team after she moved here? She explains she moved to Manitoba for non-curling reasons but knew Sara Oliver from the 2017 Canadian Juniors and Sara reached out to her, saying the team was looking for a skip.

Sweepers Sara Oliver (l) and Abby Ackland prepare to sweep a Kaitlyn Jones delivery during regional Scotties playoffs at Deer Lodge

And that answered the third question – who initiated Abby Ackland’s move to second on the team? “This was Abby’s team but she really didn’t want to skip anymore and they were looking for a leader who had ‘been there’,” Jones explained. “There have been no negatives at all in the transition.”

No question, Kaitlyn Jones has ‘been there’. She is a Saskatchewan Junior champion who moved to Nova Scotia, took over a provincial junior champion team, and won another junior title along with a Canadian and a World Championship.

Despite their youth, the entire team has credentials to match. Lead Sara Oliver has a World Championship medal of her own, at the World Mixed with Colin Kurz. Oliver, second Abby Ackland and third Robin Negovyn have all competed nationally twice as Manitoba junior champions – once, the three of them were together at the nationals.

The DEKALB SuperSpiel will be a tune-up event for eight of the 12 teams scheduled to compete in Carberry in the Manitoba Scotties in two weeks. Team K. Jones opens the DEKALB against one of them, Kristy Watling.

Looking forward to her first provincial Scotties, Jones simply said “I can’t wait – I’m so excited”.

“I’m excited to play all those teams. I’m not intimidated, there’s really no pressure. I just try to play the best I can every game,” she said, repeating an old but true maxim “to be the best, you have to beat the best” and then added “and this is the best province for that.”

In fairness to Kaitlyn Jones, it should be explained that this conversation took place before Jennifer Jones disqualified herself from the Manitoba Scotties by winning that Trials bonspiel in Saskatoon.

However the Manitoba Scotties field still includes Tracey Fleury, former champion Kristy McDonald out of competitive retirement and excited by the opportunity of one more Scotties, another former champion in Darcy Robertson, World Junior Champion Mackenzie Zacharias, plus a host of young teams on the verge of a break-through, including Beth Peterson, Kristy Watling, Shae Bevan and Meghan Walter.

There was another obvious question that demanded an answer. With the names Kaitlyn AND Jones being the names of two of the best to ever play the game (in or outside Manitoba) and with Colleen Jones being an equally legendary name in Nova Scotia where she came to Manitoba from, do the names put extra pressure on her as a young skip.

The answer belies her years. “There have been some great curlers named Jones. I’d like to be the next one,” she says simply!

She also acknowledges the important help they have had from Coach Howard Restall. “He knows the game and he knows the women’s game. With that experience he sees things I didn’t see and I really like his coaching style which is very much a ‘did you see’ style as opposed to a ‘you should have’ style,” the young skip says.

Excited about the month ahead, Kaitlyn Jones says “I know we can compete at a high level. All we have to do is play like we can.”

NEEPAWA’S URSEL TEAM WINS WESTMAN SCOTTIES BERTH

(November 22) Neepawa’s Terry Ursel team picked up the fourth Scotties berth available on the weekend, joining Kaitlyn Jones, Kritsy McDonald, and Jennifer Clark-Rouire’s team in winning invitations to compete in Carberry in mid-December.

Ursel (with Wanda Rainka, Kaya Hunter, Tracy Igonia, and fifth Chris Hamblin) won two out of three in Rivers against Alyssa Calvert, who is hoping to be a home team in the Carberry event.

Had it been a ‘total-points’ series, they would have needed an extra end as the two teams each scored 21 points in the three games. Calvert won game #2 9-6 while Ursel was a 7-5 and 8-7 winner. The teams were so closely matched that they were tied coming home in Game #3.

Team Calvert still has a chance to qualify as they will play Shae Bevan’s team for the fifth regional berth at a date & location yet to be determined. The 12th invitation for the Carberry championship will be awarded after the Morris bonspiel in early December.

(UPDATED 8PM: Saturday, Nov. 20) TEAM JCR JOINS JONES, MCDONALD IN EARNING SCOTTIES BERTHS … Kaitlyn and Jones are two well known Manitoba curling names – but two different people playing this week in Saskatoon. Kaitlyn Jones is a pretty well known name as well: a former Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia Junior champion AND Canadian & World junior champion.

Team Kaitlyn Jones

Now Kaitlyn Jones is set to make her mark at the Scotties level and she has made the first step by skipping her team (Robyn Njegovan, Abby Ackland, Sara Oliver) to an invitation to compete in Carberry at the Manitoba championship in mid-December.

Trailing 4-1 playing the fourth end, Jones had a draw for a three and a 4-4 tie. The momentum of the game shifted and after a series of singles, Jones had a hit for three on the eighth end. She rolled away but scored a pair to go up 7-6.

The Jones team controlled the final end, got two buried in the four foot and the game ended when Lisa McLeod (skipping the Jennifer Clark-Rouire entry) couldn’t make an in-off attempt to score at least one for tie. The final score was 9-6.

Team Kristy McDonald

A very well known Manitoba curling name, Kristy McDonald, will join the Jones team in Carberry. Returning to competition after some family time away, McDonald (Lisa Blixhavn, Lindsay Titheridge, Raunora Westcott) adds another former Manitoba Scotties champion skip to the Carberry roster.

McDonald led Shae Bevan 3-0 after two ends but gave up a three on the third when she missed a double kill attempt and left Bevan a draw for the three. McDonald led 5-4 after five ends and had a draw for a four on end #6 to go up 9-4. The final score was 10-5.

On the 5PM draw, the third Winnipeg regional entry into the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Carberry went to the Jennifer Clark-Rouire foursome, skipped by Lisa McLeod (with JCR, Kelsey Meger, Laurie Macdonell, Jolene Callum)

Team JCR, led by two but faced four with their final stone on the last end. Mcleod was certain of a tie after her throw but it was even better than that as Shae Bevan and her team scored only a single; a 4-3 victory for McLeod and her team.

In Rivers, Terry Ursel won game one of the best-of-three series 7-5 but Alyssa Calvert rebounded to win 9-6 in the second game. A third, deciding game will be played in Rivers at 10AM Sunday.

At a time yet to be determined, Shae Beavan’s foursome will play the loser in Rivers for the fifth berth available through regionals.

(November 19) FIVE SCOTTIES BERTHS AVAILABLE THIS WEEKEND … It is fair to suggest Tracey Fleury and Jennifer Jones and their teams would prefer a trip to Beijing over a trip to Carberry.

The top two favourites to win this year’s Manitoba’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer will be playing in Saskatoon, beginning this weekend, in an attempt to win their way out of that trip to Carberry in mid-December.

If either wins Canada’s Olympic Curling Trials, formally knows the Canadian Curling Trials, they would be dropped out of the Manitoba championship as they would be unable to represent Manitoba at the National Scotties which ends just a few days ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

Four other teams have also qualified for the Manitoba championship. These include Mackenzie Zacharias, Darcy Robertson, Beth Peterson, and  Kristy Watling.

That leaves five invitations to play in Carberry up for grabs this weekend in regional qualifying – and six teams want them.

In Winnipeg at the Deer Lodge, Jennifer Clark-Rouire, Shae Bevan, Kaitlyn Jones, and Kristy McDonald will play for three provincial berths. Jones play Clark-Rouire and McDonald plays Bevan at 9AM Saturday with the winners getting invitations. Then the two losers will play for the third invitation.

In Westman, Alyssa Calvert hopes to become a home-team in Carberry when she plays a best of three series with Terry Ursel (Neepawa). That happens in Rivers beginning at 10AM Saturday.

That makes four. The losers in Winnipeg and Westman will playoff for the fifth available entry into the Carberry championship.

After this weekend, the last entry into the Carberry Scotties will be announced following the DEKALB Bonspiel in Morris.

Of course, the small number of entries in regional playoffs does not indicate the strength of field of the provincial championships. In fact, the exact opposite – the strength of the Manitoba Scotties field probably explains the lack of regional entries.

There are seven Manitoba teams in the Canadian Team Ranking Systems’ Top 20. Team Canada’s Kerri Einarson, #5, is not eligible as she has pre-qualified for the national Scotties (unless she wins the Trials). Kaitlyn Jones, a former Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia Junior champion and also Canadian and World titleist, is ranked #15 in Canada but has yet to qualify for Carberry.

The other five are pre-qualified: Tracey Fleury (CTRS #1), Jennifer Jones (CTRS #2), Mackenzie Zacharias (CTRS #12), Kristy Watling (CTRS #14), and Beth Peterson (CTRS #15). Also pre-qualified, Darcy Robertson is ranked #35 on the CTRS list.

No question, the 12-team Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Carberry in mid-December will be one of the most competitive women’s curling events ever staged in Manitoba – great championship curling entertainment.

(November 16) GREAT PROGRESS IN PLANNING FOR CARBERRY SCOTTIES …. Carberry is one of the smallest, and perhaps is the smallest, community to ever host one of CurlManitoba’s arena championship curling events.

Curl Carberry is proud to be hosting the 2021 Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer

Rather than being a problem, however, committee chairman Rob Van Kommer says it is an opportunity – an opportunity to showcase the spirit of the community which he is proud to call home and an opportunity to boost community pride.

The Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer will be played in the Carberry Community Centre December 14-19, 2021 with the full support of the Town of Carberry, the Rural Municipality of North Cypress, the Community Centre and the Curling Club.

“Our committee and our community have really taken hold of the challenge of hosting the Scotties. We’re making great progress,” Van Kommer said recently. “The business community has shown great support – our nine corporate boxes are ‘sold out’ and we have at least eight gold sponsors already; we had over 120 volunteers turn out for our shirt try-on night, and nearly half of our full event passes have been sold.”

Showing the eternal optimism of the Manitoba farmer, Van Kommer can even put a positive spin on the past year’s covid-isolation and the change of timing to December, due to the 2022 Olympic schedule.

‘I don’t think there is any doubt it helps us for the event to be earlier than usual,” he said. “People were isolating for so long that this event is going to be a great way for them to get out and see their friends from across the Manitoba curling community.”

The Carberry Community Centre is a multi-sport facility which includes the four sheet curling facility, a bowling alley, a gun club, an outdoor pool, and hockey arena. For the Scotties, the curling rink will be used as a yet-to-be named hospitality facility.

People worried about it being an ’old barn’ need not be concerned. The building benefited from regular upgrades over the years with new roof, new dressing rooms and new heaters all ensuring the comfort of both fans and curlers. There is also good experience in the arena as a curling arena as Carberry Curling club has staged its annual bonspiel in the arena ever since the clubs 100th anniversary (nearly 40 years).

While seating capacity in the arena is limited to 450 bleacher seats, the total capacity will be about 1,200 curlers and curling fans. (LINK to Carberry’s Ticket Sales site) One of the innovative Carberry ideas, compared with other provincial events, will be to provide access to the hospitality area via a $20 “party pass”.

That idea was one of many which grew from the imaginations of the Carberry volunteer corps and Van Kommer is quick to credit his executive committee and the other lead volunteers for their energy and ideas. The Executive group includes Kelly Hofer (President of the Ladies Curling Club), Warren Birch (President of the Men’s Curling Club) Trevor Calvert (Past-President of the Men’s Curling Club).

Carberry was originally scheduled to host a dual Manitoba Juniors and Manitoba Seniors Championship event in early 2021 but it, of course, was cancelled due to the pandemic. When CurlManitoba needed a suitable location for the Scotties, Carberry accepted the challenge.

As one of the original seven curling clubs which formed the Manitoba Branch of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club (now CurlManitoba), Carberry is proud to join the list of communities which has hosted one of Manitoba’s major arena curling events.

However, Van Kommer and his group have not given up on the idea of that dual Juniors-Seniors championship event wrapped around their community bonspiel.

“You have to have something to look forward to,” he concludes with a smile.